China’s iPhone 16 Rumored to Feature Baidu AI, Ernie Bot

Eve Harrison

Apple is reportedly partnering with the Chinese tech giant Baidu in a new venture for its iPhone 16 series to develop AI and artificial intelligence capabilities in the Chinese market. The new iPhone, to be launched with iOS 18, is rumored to feature an AI chatbot developed by Baidu. The bot referred to as Ernie Bot is powered by its native large language model (LLM), Ernie 4.0.

What’s Happening & Why This Matters

The reported partnership with Baidu follows Apple’s preliminary discussions with Google about using its Gemini AI for its devices and operating systems across the globe. However, both deals underline Apple’s efforts to create on-device AI features rather than relying on cloud-based services. The move comes as China, unlike the rest of the world, mandates all large language models to be inspected and approved by its own regulatory body.

As OpenAI and Google Gemini do not currently operate in China, Apple’s only option is working alongside a local vendor that bypasses/eases the regulatory hurdles. It remains uncertain whether Apple would include Baidu’s branding on its new features, but the iPhone maker is evidently prioritizing local AI capabilities for the local Chinese market.

Chart: How Important Is China for Apple? | Statista
China is an important market for Apple and iPhone. Credit: Statista

TF Summary: What’s Next

With Apple Worldwide Developer Conference set for June with an expected focus on AI, a partnership with Baidu aligns smartly. A partnership sets the stage for AI integration that serves the Chinese market better and complies with local regulations.

As Apple prioritizes on-device AI capabilities, China could soon see unique Apple AI services.

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By Eve Harrison “TF Gadget Guru”
Eve Harrison is a staff writer for TechFyle's TF Sources. With a background in consumer technology and digital marketing, Eve brings a unique perspective that balances technical expertise with user experience. She holds a degree in Information Technology and has spent several years working in digital marketing roles, focusing on tech products and services. Her experience gives her insights into consumer trends and the practical usability of tech gadgets.
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